Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s Senate testimony Tuesday made waves for what she said and what she didn’t hear. When asked about the White House meeting last week where President Trump used the term “shithole countries” to refer to African and Central American nations he considered undesirable for the U.S. to accept immigrants from, Neilsen testified that she didn’t hear Trump use the derogatory term.
Democratic senators at the hearing were livid, but Jim Geraghty at National Review makes the pragmatic case that Democrats can go after Nielsen all they want, but they have to consider the alternative, which could be worse—far worse! “Whenever President Trump appoints someone qualified and competent for a position, lawmakers of both parties would be wise to confirm that nominee and just do their best to work with the nominee, come what may,” Geraghty writes. “[C]onsidering Trump’s unpredictable and arbitrary criteria for personnel decisions, there’s no guarantee that the replacement will be an improvement … There’s a good chance you’ll dislike the next nominee even more than the current cabinet member.”
Secretary Nielsen’s testimony inspired further commentary when she said she intended to ask the Justice Department to prosecute local officials involved in maintaining sanctuary cities across the country, which defy federal law in order to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. Ben Shapiro at the Daily Wire breaks down some of the potential legal arguments behind the case for prosecution, noting that, even on the right, “Nielsen’s comments will likely touch off a firestorm—and could lead to conflict between federalists among conservatives and immigration hawks.”
In other news
Breitbart enthused about President Trump’s physical Tuesday with a post titled: Very Healthy Genius: Trump Smashes Medical Exam. The Daily Caller’s lead piece described Trump’s physical this way: “The President Did Exceedingly Well”: Trump Took a Cognitive Exam and Aced It.
At the Weekly Standard, Eric Felten doesn’t see the timing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s bombshell subpoena of former White House strategist Steve Bannon as coincidental, noting a “bummed-out witness is a talkative witness.” Bannon, of course, not only has fallen out with the White House; he also lost his post at Breitbart after his comments about the Trump family came out in Michael Wolff’s recent book. “It is no coincidence that the special counsel’s team produced a subpoena for Bannon, after all these months, days after his ex-boss tweeted ‘Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone,’ ” Felten writes. “The witness who has been dumped like a dog by his old friends is a prosecutor’s dream.”
On New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s last day in office, the editors at the Weekly Standard devoted a column to Christie’s once promising political career to assess—what happened? “It’s hard to overstate the optimism with which conservatives viewed the Chris Christie of the years 2010 to 2013,” the editors write. “Over the last four years, Chris Christie has exchanged his reputation as a tough-talking and effective conservative governor for that of a shrill and scandal-prone politician who scrapped his own principles and kowtowed to Donald Trump in a futile attempt to gain favor.”
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